Jorge Prado (Red Bull KTM) took 12 points out of his team-mate Pauls Jonass’ series lead at round 10 of the FIM Motocross World Championship at the MXGP of France at St Jean d’Angely today.
The 18-year-old Spaniard had to pick himself up off the floor in the opening moto but made no mistakes second time out and at the halfway stage of the series he now trails the defending champion by just 16 points.
“I’m so happy to win here in France,” he said. “It’s the first time for me and the track was gnarly all day so I didn’t expect to do a race like this when I woke up this morning. My feeling has been good on the bike all day and I’m so happy – all the hard work pays off.”
Following an overnight deluge, America’s Thomas Covington (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) holeshot the opening moto from Henry Jacobi (STC Racing Husqvarna) and Prado on a rapidly-drying track but Thomas Kjer Olsen (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) moved into second within a few turns.
Jonass sat fourth and when Prado lost his front end in a left-hand turn following a steep descent and crashed the Latvian moved up a position.
With big ruts forming, Covington quickly began to gap Olsen as Jacobi lost third to Jonass and after eight minutes Prado was also on the German’s back wheel before making a pass and setting off after his team-mate.
At half-distance Prado was all over Jonass and made an aggressive pass for third, diving up the inside in a right-hand turn and running his team-mate wide but he was 12-and-a-half seconds behind the leader at this point.
Prado immediately started to drop Jonass who then came under pressure from Jacobi but the German crashed twice in the final stages and collected a DNF.
At the flag Covington was over three seconds ahead of Olsen with Prado comfortably in front of Jonass in third. Jago Geerts (Kemea Yamaha) was fifth from Aussie Lawrence Hunter (Honda 114 Motorsports) with Conrad Mewse (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) best Brit in seventh.
Ben Watson (Kemea Yamaha), who crashed on the start straight, came back from 25th on the first lap to ninth at the flag but Josh Gilbert (Buildbase Honda), who’d been as high as 10th on the opening lap, went out on lap five.
Starting from the middle of the gate, Jonass holeshot race two but a first-lap crash dropped him down the order as Prado passed Geerts for second within a few turns with Michelle Cervellin (Yamaha) third from Calvin Vlaanderen (Team HRC).
Jonass began his fight back in 17th while Prado led from Geerts with Olsen taking Cervellin for third and Covington following him through a couple of laps later.
With the track getting increasingly dry and technical, by half-distance Prado was six-and-a-half seconds clear of Geerts and could afford to back off at the end to win by just over three seconds.
Covington stuck a late pass on Olsen to tie Prado on points but he lost out on the overall on a tie-break. The Dane ended the weekend in third overall from Geerts and Jonass who recovered to sixth in the race behind Vlaanderen for fifth overall.
Watson, after a bad gate, ended the opening lap in 14th but when Jonass crashed he tagged onto the back of him and followed him through to seventh for sixth overall. After struggling in recent GPs, Mewse was a solid ninth for eighth overall while Gilbert had a career-best 16th in race two to finish 18th overall.